Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
A Letter to President Obama

Taking Grandma to the Curb

by LARRY DORSHKIND

Dear Mr. President,

With regards to your FY2014 budget proposal to cut $230 billion from Social Security payments over 10 years (as almost everyone knows, you propose to use a “chained CPI” to determine cost of living adjustments), I commend you for the conundrum you just handed to the Republican Party. Now, the Republican Party has to agonize and decide which of two directions to take. What a dilemma for them – congratulations to you for presenting them with this dilemma.

The first tack the Republican Party can take may be to effectively run against the Democratic Party in 2014 and 2016 by showing the average American that only the Republican Party can protect them from unwarranted attacks on their beloved safety net as recently proposed by you and the sycophant Democratic Party members who back you. After all, the Republican Party will argue that Social Security is an insurance program, funded by the workers who contribute to it, and, thus, it does not contribute one penny to the National Deficit or Debt. They can point out that it is the exact reverse of the problem you are pointing out that is the real problem – it is the U.S. Treasury that borrows funds from the Social Security Trust Fund, not vice versa. They can point out that, yes, Social Security needs to be improved sometime in the future, but this can be readily accomplished by raising the Cap to, say, $250,000 or, better yet, removing the Cap altogether. They will simply point out that the Democratic Party does not align itself with the 80-99% of Americans who depend upon almost all or every penny of their Social Security insurance checks to make ends meet, and it is the Republican Party that will protect the average citizen’s Social Security insurance plan.

On the other hand, the Republican Party could come out in full-throated approval of your proposal. They may take this tack because you and, by inference, the Democratic Party have joined them in their long-standing position of not proposing that the well-off contribute to alleviating the future Social Security problem. After all, their prime constituents and, by inference, your prime constituents, include financially well-off groups that, at their core, abhor contributing to U.S. governance and, in any case, contributing to the American aspiration of a secure retirement or, at least, a minimum safety net for all.

Mr. President, please do not act coy by not considering that you have joined the Republican camp in protecting the financial elite, the corporate-welfare elite, the corporate-and-wealthy tax-loophole elite, the corporate-and-wealthy tax avoidance elite, the corporate-offshoring elite, the corporate-outsourcing elite, the military-industrial elite, the corporate-and-wealthy Cayman Islands tax-avoidance elite, and, in general, the plundering and money-laundering elite. (Heh, Mr. President, your Attorney General, reporting to you, has not engaged in even one prosecution of Wall Street malfeasance and fraud that caused the recent financial crisis, right?).

Yes, you do not know which tack the Republican Party will take, but I bet you are banking on the second tack. But, Heavens to Betsy, if the Republican Party takes the first tack, you have effectively condemned the Democratic Party to the desert for 40 years. Obviously, you do not care.

Mr. President, I apologize, but I have to cut this letter short. I have to take Grandma out to the curb. Tomorrow is trash day.

Larry Dorshkind can be reached at: mail (at) dorshkind.com